Written by Ng E-Jay
10 January 2014
No thanks to the PAP government, Singapore has over the years developed a notorious reputation for being a “Fine City” — a city where people are slapped with financial penalties for a wide range of anti-social behaviour including chewing gum, spitting, and littering. To be sure, society must evolve to embrace good conduct and good manners. Let me state categorically that I support the punishment of people who repeatedly indulge in crass or unhygienic practices.
However, the high-handedness of the PAP government has created a negative image of Singapore. People know Singapore for being a tightly-controlled authoritarian nation, even if they have benefitted from the economic fruits our country has produced. People still call Singapore a “nanny state” even if our economic growth has made many of the elite immensely rich (the lower income have NOT enjoyed our economic prosperity). There is the pervasive, unshakable sense that underlying all the wealth and glitz associated with Singapore, crude and backward authoritarianism and oppression is still used by the ruling party to keep the populace in line as if we were but a bunch of farm animals.
It is time the government lead by example. If public transport companies are to be fined by LTA for service lapses, then ministries and statutory boards must also be fined for administrative lapses.
If the citizens of this country are fined for such a broad range of behaviour, then surely the government must also pay a financial penalty if they fail to meet basic expectations or fail to live up to their mandate.
The PAP government should be fined for major administrative lapses that occur in the ministries, in the statutory boards, and in the civil service. The government must also pay the price if senior officials or political figures commit major blunders in either their personal or public life. The fines must be comparable to the amount of money locked up in our CPF accounts.
The relevant ministries, statutory boards, or branches of the civil service should pay a million dollar fine if any of the following occur:
- Major administrative lapses such as failure to submit proper accounting records to the Accountant General each year, or submitting record that show significant discrepancies in the accounts.
- Security lapses such as allowing prisoners, detainees, or persons held in police custody to escape (Mas Selamat, for example)
- Constructing and building poorly designed expressways that lead to massive jams during peak hours (the MCE, for example)
- $50,000 fine for EVERY COUPLE THAT FAILS TO GET A BTO FLAT WITHIN THREE YEARS OF APPLICATION
- Miscommunication by the NEA or other government bodies through emails or other media resulting in town councils failing to perform ceiling cleaning at hawker centres
- $5 million dollar fine for each civil servant of superscale rank and above found guilty of committing fraud or engaging in corrupt practices in his line of work.
- $20,000 dollar fine imposed on NEA for every person who contracts dengue fever.
The money raised from all these fines will go into an independently-managed account that will be used to fund additional public assistance schemes for the homeless and the aged who have no one to care for them. The funds will also be used to enhance our social safety nets by providing additional GST offset packages for the lower-income as well as retrenchment allowances should a low-income Singaporean be retrenched from his job due to factors other than his personal lack of ability or commitment.